Cal Poly student killed in Santa Maria car accident

Cal Poly student William Rogers
Cal Poly student William Rogers

Cal Poly students are mourning the death of a wine and viticulture senior from Tahoe City who was in a traffic accident over the weekend.

William Rogers, 24, flipped his Chevrolet Suburban at some point Saturday evening after he drove through a stop sign and up an embankment near Clark Avenue and Dominion Road in Santa Maria, according to the CHP.

The time of the accident has not been determined because the crash was not discovered until approximately 7 the next morning by a passer-by, who notified authorities.

It is not known whether alcohol or drugs played a factor.

News of Rogers’ death sent waves of sadness through the university Wednesday, particularly in the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, where Rogers studied.

“Will was just a very friendly, respectful guy,” said Michael Costello, a viticulture professor who taught Rogers. “He was full of energy; one of those students who made a point of saying, ‘Hey, professor, how are you?’ A very interactive student.”

On Wednesday morning, Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong sent a campus-wide letter offering condolences and 24-hour counseling services.

“In this time of loss, it is appropriate to recall that The Mustang Way asks us to ‘embrace one another’ because ‘we are one community,’ ” Armstrong wrote. “We care about each member of Cal Poly.”

Members of the fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho created a Facebook event in Rogers’ honor.

A memorial barbecue has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday at the fraternity’s house, 124 Mustang Drive. Meals are $10 a plate, and all proceeds are to go to the Rogers family.